December 22, 2016 / 8:26 AM / in 7 months

European shares pull back, Actelion hits record high

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LONDON, Dec 22 (Reuters) - European shares edged lower on Thursday, dropping further from their highest levels of the year, though drugmaker Actelion provided support after it entered exclusive discussions with prospective bidder Johnson & Johnson.

The STOXX 600 was down 0.2 percent, falling for a second straight session after hitting its highest level since Jan. 4 on Tuesday.

Outside the STOXX 600, shares in Monte Paschi failed to open, and were indicated down 6 percent. It failed to find an anchor investor for its private rescue plan on Wednesday, and looks set for a state bailout.

Miners were the biggest sectoral fallers, down 0.9 percent as copper hit a 1-month low.

Top STOXX 600 riser was Actelion, which rose 7.7 percent to hit a record high.

The Swiss biotech company has turned back to potential acquirer Johnson & Johnson for exclusive talks about a "strategic transaction", in an about-turn that appears to sideline rival suitor Sanofi.

Sanofi rose 1.8 percent.

Nokia was the top faller on the index, down 4.3 percent after it said it had filed a number of lawsuits against Apple for violating technology patents.

Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Alison Williams

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